Research & Articles
Atlanta Youth Count & Needs Assessment 2016
There are 3,374 homeless and runaway youth in shelters, on the streets or in other precarious housing situations in the Atlanta metro area, according to the results of a project by Georgia State University and its partners to count and assess the area’s homeless youth.
The estimate comes from the 2015 Atlanta Youth Count and Needs Assessment (AYCNA), which was led by Georgia State. AYCNA is the first comprehensive, accurate count and assessment of the number of homeless youth in the Atlanta metro area. From May to July 2015, 50 Georgia State and Emory students counted homeless youth ages 14 to 25 living within Atlanta’s city limits and in suburbs around the Interstate 285 perimeter, including large segments of Fulton, Cobb, Clayton, DeKalb and Gwinnett counties.
In the News
Georgia Constitutional Amendment 2 — Establish Safe Harbor Fund — Results: Approved
NEW YORK, NY - November 14, 2016
By The New York Times
The Business of Buying Our Children: Child sex trafficking north of the Atlanta perimeter
ATLANTA, GA - November 9, 2016
By KAYLA ROBINS | Forsyth County News
FORSYTH COUNTY – The offer came through via text at 5 p.m.: $120 for 15 minutes of sex with the barely legal girl from the online ad. After 15 minutes without a response, he texted again. $150.
That’s way more than what you normally get for 15 minutes, said the women behind the computer. Normal, she said, is $50, though she has seen it as high as $250.
The ad was for a fake girl. It was created by the woman behind the computer, Whitney Bexley, for an undercover research and outreach operation called Transaction Intercept. The goal: to deter men from buying sex with young women who, sometimes to the men’s knowledge and sometimes not, are often children...READ MORE
Georgia's Children Sold For Sex: A 'Family 2 Family' Special
ATLANTA, GA - October 30, 2016
WSB Channel 2
Channel 2 Action News anchors Justin Farmer and Jovita Moore shed light on a difficult subject -- children forced into the sex trade in the metro area. Hundreds of children are sold for sex every day. Many of the men buying underage girls live in some of Atlanta’s wealthiest ZIP codes. The special showed how Georgians can help stop child trafficking and explain the proposed safe harbor constitution amendment that is up for a vote in November...READ MORE
Operation Cross Country X: Dozens arrested in Georgia as part of FBI sex trafficking sting
ATLANTA, GA - October 18, 2016
By KRISTEN REED, JOE HENKE AND PHILLIP KISH | WXIA
Nearly 70 people were arrested in the metro Atlanta area as part of an international sex trafficking and prostitution sting this week, the FBI announced on Tuesday...READ MORE
Georgia amendment No. 2: Creating a support fund for child sex trafficking victims
ATLANTA, GA - October 17, 2016
By KAYLA ROBINS | Forsyth County News
Safe Harbor Yes is a dedication of monetary resources for juvenile victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking that would be funded by placing a fee on adult establishments that provide alcohol and nudity and by fining people convicted of human trafficking....READ MORE
Bob Rodgers, President & CEO of Street Grace
ATLANTA, GA - August 9, 2016
United Way of Greater Atlanta
Street Grace President & CEO Bob Rodgers shares why he's supporting the Safe Harbor amendment.
Cheryl DeLuca-Johnson and Bob Rodgers on WABE's "Closer Look"
ATLANTA, GA - August 8, 2016
WABE 90.1 FM
Listen to Street Grace ambassador Cheryl DeLuca-Johnson and new CEO Bob Rodgers discuss the state of sex trafficking in Georgia and what lies ahead for the fight against DMST on this episode of "Closer Look" with Rose Scott and Jim Burress.
New CEO taking helm of Norcross nonprofit fighting sex-trafficking
NORCROSS, GA - July 22, 2016
By JOSHUA SHARPE | Gwinnett Daily Post
The statistic horrifies Bob Rodgers: as many as 400 girls — some no older than 14 – are reportedly victims of sex trafficking in Georgia every month.
Rodgers, former president of Richmont Graduate University, is now taking the helm of Norcross-based nonprofit Street Grace to do his part to help. The organization provides resources for victims and spurs awareness in Gwinnett County and around metro Atlanta...READ MORE
Attorney General Sam Olens announces statewide campaign to combat child sex trafficking
ATLANTA, GA - April 26, 2016
Attorney General Sam Olens, along with non-profit advocate Street Grace, BBDO Atlanta, and the Justice Network, announced a statewide campaign to combat child sex trafficking entitled “Unmasked.”
Sex trafficking is considered modern day slavery in which children are bought and sold for sex. It happens throughout Georgia, from the streets of Atlanta to the back roads of small towns, and is often perpetrated in plain sight.
The “Unmasked” campaign targets the customers and in a gritty way shows that they are not anonymous – we see who they are and they are being unmasked everyday...READ MORE
Georgia campaign targets child sex buyers
ATLANTA, GA - April 26, 2016
By MAGGIE LEE | The Telegraph
Georgians can expect to see a new campaign of public service announcements aimed at making people stop before they commit a child sex crime.
The “unmasked” campaign, introduced Tuesday by state Attorney General Sam Olens at the state Capitol, targets would-be buyers and lets them know that law enforcement is putting a high priority on stopping child sex trafficking.
“We view this effort that you’re hearing about today as a crucial step in that process, a crucial step to putting more folks in jail who need to be in jail for trafficking our children,” Olens said...READ MORE
Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens announces campaign to ‘unmask’ sex traffickers
GAINESVILLE, GA - April 26, 2016
By NICK WATSON | Gainesville Times
With Atlanta as one of the largest centers of sex trafficking in the country, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens announced Tuesday a campaign to target the buyers.
“When I was first elected, one could be convicted of trafficking and serve a year,” Olens said, adding it has since been increased to a minimum 10-year sentence.
The statewide campaign is called “Unmasked,” an effort to prosecute buyers in the sex trafficking market and “show that they are not anonymous,” according to the attorney general’s office...READ MORE
Operation Cross Country - Recovering Victims of Child Sex Trafficking
October 13, 2015
FBI Press Release
Operation Cross Country, a nationwide law enforcement action that took place last week and focused on underage victims of prostitution, has concluded with the recovery of 149 sexually exploited children and the arrests of more than 150 pimps and other individuals.
The FBI, in partnership with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), conducted the annual action—the ninth and largest such enforcement to date—as part of the Bureau’s Innocence Lost National Initiative...READ MORE
DeKalb cases show child sex trafficking in the suburbs
DUNWOODY, GA - July 8, 2015
By JENNIFER LESLIE | WXIA-Atlanta
Two busts in two weeks are shedding new light on the problem of child sex trafficking in the suburbs.
In Brookhaven, James Clay Webb, 51, was arrested Monday and charged with human sex trafficking, interfering with child custody and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Brookhaven Police would not release details but said Webb's arrest stemmed from a complaint from Bartow County DFCS about the possible sexual exploitation of a juvenile.
In Dunwoody, a police sting on June 25 led to the rescue of a 16-year-old victim of child sex trafficking.
Officers called the 24-hour hotline for the nonprofit group Georgia Cares, and they responded immediately...Click to View the Video
Brookhaven man arrested on Human Trafficking, other charges
The Brookhaven Post
July 8, 2015
The Brookhaven Police Department (BPD) reports that BPD Detectives and Georgia Bureau of Investigations Agents (GBI) executed a search warrant in the 3500 block of Mill Creek Road which resulted in the arrest of James Clay Webb, 51, of Brookhaven.
Law enforcement officials have charged Webb with Human Trafficking, Interference with Child Custody, and Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor.
Webb was transported to the DeKalb County Jail...READ MORE
Visa joins MasterCard, AmEx in ending use for Backpage sex ads
MARY WISNIEWSKI; EDITING BY WILL DUNHAM - REUTERS
July 1, 2015
Visa Inc said on Wednesday it is joining MasterCard Inc and American Express Co in barring its credit cards from being used to pay for ads on Backpage.com following a request from a Chicago sheriff who said the site is used by sex traffickers.
Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart said that "escort" ads on Backpage.com and similar classified advertising sites make up the foundation of a sex-trafficking industry that preys on the young and vulnerable.
Arthur Gerald Reid Sentenced for Trafficking of Children
PRESS RELEASE - U.S. Dept. of Justice, Middle District of Georgia
March 17, 2015
Michael J. Moore, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, announced today that Arthur Gerald Reid, 28, of Macon, Georgia, was sentenced on March 17, 2015 to serve 30 years (360 months) in federal prison for sex trafficking of children. The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Hugh Lawson, Senior United States District Court Judge, in Macon, Georgia.
Mr. Reid entered a plea of guilty to the charges on December 23, 2013. As a part of his plea agreement, the defendant admitted that beginning in September, 2011, and continuing until February, 2013, he prostituted a juvenile victim from various motel rooms in Macon, Georgia, and in Tybee Island, Georgia, through the utilization of backpage.com, an erotic services website. Mr. Reid was physically violent toward the juvenile victim...READ MORE
State Lawmakers to Propose Stronger Sex Trafficking Laws
BLAYNE ALEXANDER - WXIA
February 4, 2015
Wednesday afternoon, state senators will hold a judiciary hearing on SB8 - legislation that sponsors say would strengthen the state's laws against sex trafficking, while helping to protect child victims.
The Safe Harbor Legislation, or Rachel's Bill, already has a version working its way through the state senate. On the house side, Reps. Chuck Efstration (R-104) and Andy Welch (R-110) are expected to introduce similar legislation Wednesday. The bill is named after Rachel, a now-rehabilitated victim of sex trafficking.
Sen. Renee Unterman (R-45) introduced the senate legislation last week. She said the state's existing sex trafficking laws are not tough enough...READ MORE AND WATCH VIDEO
Attorney General Sam Olens Announces Child Sex Trafficking Indictment
January 30, 2015
On Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015, a Cobb County Grand Jury returned a 16 count indictment against Khiry Price for the commercial sexual exploitation of three juvenile females...According to the indictment, in December 2013, Price enticed three juvenile runaway females for the purpose of sexual servitude. He is accused of advertising the juveniles on the Internet for the purpose of commercial sex and caused them to engage in sex acts with the buyers who responded to the advertisements. READ MORE
Training for eliminating child sex trafficking to begin in Brookhaven
DIONNE KINCH Atlanta Journal-Constitution
January 7, 2015
Brookhaven’s mayor and city council will become among the first city leaders in Georgia to learn how to recognize signs of child sex trafficking. The training is part of the city’s “Not Buying It” pledge, developed by the Governor’s Office for Children and Families Statewide Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Task Force, and is designed to educate about the dangers of child sex trafficking...READ MORE
Brookhaven vows to help end child sex trafficking
DIONNE KINCH Atlanta Journal-Constitution
December 29, 2014
Brookhaven recently became the first city in Georgia to join the “Not Buying It”program, intended to raise awareness and refuse support of businesses dealing in the exploitation of children and child sex trafficking.
Mayor J. Max Davis and several city councilmembers became part of the Georgia Task Force on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in November. They pledged to commit to stop activities that perpetuate child sex trafficking...READ MORE
Unterman Prefiles "Safe Harbor" Legislation
STAFF REPORTS Gwinnett Daily Post
December 12, 2014
On Thursday, State Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford) hosted a press conference and candlelight vigil in Atlanta in support of her “Safe Harbor” bill. The bill — Senate Bill 8 — would create several directives regarding child sex trafficking victims and their captors including extending the statute of limitations and incorporating federal guidelines passed by Congress earlier this year...READ MORE
Pimp gets life prison sentence for human trafficking convictions in Athens
by JOE JOHNSON Athens Banner-Herald
November 20, 2014
A Clarke County Superior Court judge on Wednesday handed a life prison sentence to a pimp convicted of human trafficking in Athens.
Following a trial this month, a jury found 32-year-old Archie Richard Byrd III guilty of six counts of trafficking persons for sexual servitude. Three of the counts on which Byrd was convicted were for using violence and other means to coerce an underage teen to work for him as a prostitute.
Byrd gained notoriety in June 2012 when he was featured on TV’s “America’s Most Wanted,” where his escape from authorities two months earlier during a sting operation at a hotel near downtown Athens was re-enacted. He remained at large for nearly two years, even returning for a while to his home state of California, where he continued his pimping activities...READ MORE
Sen. Renee Unterman Offers Support to Statewide Initiative to Eliminate Child Sex Trafficking
November 10, 2014
ATLANTA (November 10, 2014) | Sen. Renee Unterman (R – Buford) has announced her support for the City of Brookhaven’s “Not Buying It” program during a press briefing today at Brookhaven City Hall. Originally developed through the Governor’s Office for Children and Families (GOCF) Statewide CSEC (Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children) Task Force initiative, the program encourages taking a stand against child sex trafficking through advocacy, prevention and restoration. Sen. Unterman spoke at the press briefing alongside several other state and city officials, including Attorney General Sam Olens, Georgia Bureau of Investigations Director Vernon Keenan and Brookhaven Mayor J. Max Davis.
“I am so proud of the City of Brookhaven and their efforts to end a devastatingly sad problem in Georgia. It’s my hope that other Georgia cities follow their lead by openly showing support for this program and joining the fight against child sex trafficking,” said Sen. Unterman.
At the conclusion of the press briefing, the present elected officials signed the “Not Buying It” pledge, confirming efforts fight child sex trafficking to the fullest extent of the law. The pledge asks signers to “walk inintegrity by not purchasing sex; exhibit courage by raising awareness, speaking out against CSEC, and reversing today’s distorted perception of sex; and leave a legacy by mentoring the next generation to walk in integrity and exhibit the courage to eradicate CSEC from the face of the earth.” The public may also sign the pledge online.
The “Not Buying It” program is the product of one of seven workgroups under the GOCF Statewide CSEC Task Force initiative. Child welfare advocates and professionals from Mercer University, YouthSpark, Wellspring Living, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Georgia Center for Opportunity, The Bastian Center for the Study of Human Trafficking, Interfaith Children’s Movement, and the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta all contributed to the program’s development.
Street Grace (a nonprofit dedicated to eradicating domestic minor sex trafficking), the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and the State Attorney General’s Office have formed a partnership to oversee the continued implementation of the “Not Buying It” program statewide.
For further information, or to sign the “Not Buying It” pledge online, visit www.notbuyingit.org.
Brookhaven Signs Pledge to Stop Child Sex Trafficking
by RENEE STARZYK CBS-46
November 10, 2014
City leaders in Brookhaven signed a pledge Monday to join a state task force aimed at fighting child sex trafficking.
The city became the first in Georgia to join the task force during a ceremony at City Hall.
"It becomes something that you almost obsess about because you fear constantly that your child is going to be kidnapped or harmed by someone else, by a predator," Mayor J. Max Davis said.
State leaders estimate that 300 children are sold for sex every month in Georgia. They said more than 7,000 men and women look to purchase sex from children.
Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens said having Brookhaven's support will aid the state's effort to combat sex trafficking...READ MORE
6 Alleged Child Predators Arrested in Savannah
by WTOC Staff
November 10, 2014
J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, announced six arrests resulting from a inter-agency law enforcement operation focusing on child exploitation activities in the area.
On Thursday, Nov. 6, the FBI led Southeast Georgia Child Exploitation Task Force, in conjunction with the Richmond Hill Police Department, Pooler Police Department, Effingham County Sheriff's Department, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, conducted a joint law enforcement operation focusing on child exploitation matters within the Bryan County/Savannah, Georgia areas...READ MORE
Athens jury convicts notorious pimp of human trafficking
by JOE JOHNSON Athens Banner-Herald
November 8, 2014
A Clarke County jury Thursday convicted a notorious pimp of multiple counts of human trafficking. Following a three-day trial in Clarke County Superior Court, Byrd was found guilty of six counts of trafficking of persons for sexual servitude.
Archie Richard Byrd III will be sentenced at a later date, but he faces the possibility of life in prison.
Three of the counts on which Byrd was convicted Thursday are for using violence and other means to coerce an underage teen to work for him as a prostitute...READ MORE
Attorney General Sam Olens Continues Fight Against Human Trafficking, Appoints Statewide Prosecutor
October 29, 2014
Attorney General Sam Olens announced today that he has appointed a new prosecutor, Camila Wright, who will be dedicated to the prosecution of human trafficking. As a prosecutor for the Attorney General’s Office, she will have the authority to prosecute human trafficking throughout the entire state and will assist jurisdictions as they work these complex cases. In addition to handling prosecutions, Ms. Wright will conduct trainings around the state for law enforcement and oversee the Attorney General’s policy agenda on human trafficking. READ MORE
Backpage.com on the Hot Seat
by STEVEN SYRE The Boston Globe
October 28, 2014
It’s hard to imagine a couple of girls who needed a lawyer more than Jane Doe No. 1 and Jane Doe No. 2.
They both live in Massachusetts and were as young as 15 years old at the time of some of the child sex trafficking allegations described in a lawsuit recently filed for them in federal court in Boston. The stories they tell, about being sold for sex by pimps 10 to 12 times a day, are every bit as grim as you can imagine.
Sadly, those stories are not unique. But the civil lawsuit is unusual in its scope and ambition, aiming far beyond the normal goal of protecting named clients or resolving their specific conflicts.
The suit targets a commercial business — the website Backpage.com and its owners — trying to throw a wrench in the online process said to be used in child sex trafficking...READ MORE
Officials Vow to Keep Human Trafficking Out of Coweta
by WES MAYER
Although there are no pending cases in the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office or the district attorney’s office, Coweta investigators are prepared to put their foot down if human trafficking reappears in the county.
Last week, Derrick Leon Holloway and Lavaris Cisco Clark were found guilty of trafficking of persons for sexual servitude and aggravated child molestation in Coweta County Superior Court. Both men were sentenced to serve 40 years in prison plus life on probation in what was the first human trafficking case in Coweta County history.
“Human trafficking is on the forefront of law enforcement efforts,” said Coweta County Investigator Ryan Foles, the lead investigator in the case. “It’s something we’re not going to tolerate.” READ MORE
Suspects on Trial for Human Trafficking, Child Molestation
NEWNAN, GA - September 17, 2014
By WES MAYER The Newnan Times-Herald
This week, two men indicted on charges of human trafficking for sexual servitude and aggravated child molestation are on trial in Coweta County Superior Court.
The two men, Lavaris Cisco Clark and Derrick Leon Holloway – who was additionally indicted for child molestation – were both arrested in October 2013 during an investigation by the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office into the possible trafficking and molestation of a 15-year-old girl. Three days before Clark and Holloway were arrested, investigators arrested a woman, Jennifer Lynn McQuaid, whom investigators also suspected was involved...READ MORE
Trafficking Bust Reveals Worries Over Missing Kids
WASHINGTON — Jul 30, 2014, 11:04 AM ET
By ERIC TUCKER Associated Press
When FBI agents and police officers fanned out across the country last month in a weeklong effort to rescue child sex trafficking victims, they pulled minors as young as 11 from hotel rooms, truck stops and homes.
Among the 168 juveniles recovered was a population that child welfare advocates say especially concerns them: children who were never reported missing in the first place.
Advocates say the roundup reinforces the need for a standardized, nationwide approach to report children as missing, especially those absent from state foster care systems who are seen as most vulnerable to abuse. Concerns over unaccounted-for children aren't new, but they're receiving fresh attention amid heightened awareness of child sex trafficking. State and federal efforts are underway to streamline how police are alerted when kids go missing...READ MORE
Metro Atlanta Health Care Boss Accused of Arranging Child Sex
By Marcus K. Garner
A metro Atlanta health care executive was arrested last week in Alabama on Internet child sex solicitation charges, authorities said. Michael Lee Graue is accused of trying to arrange to have sex with a 14-year-old girl, Hartford, Ala., Police Chief Annie Ward told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Graue, 58, was the chief executive officer of the southern region of Tenet Healthcare until he was fired Monday, company officials said. Click here to read more.
Washington Post Opinions: There is No Such Thing as a Child Prostitute
By Malika Saar
Malika Saada Saar is special counsel on human rights at the Raben Group and director of the Human Rights Project for Girls.
Would you call Tami a child prostitute?
A pimp kidnapped Tami on her way home from school in Los Angeles. He held her captive for six months, raping, beating and starving her. At night, he sold Tami for sex with other men. Tami tried to escape by telling every john who purchased her that she was only a kid. For months, Tami pleaded with her buyers: “I’m only 15. Can you please take me to a police station?” But none did. When she finally encountered police officers, they did not rescue her; they arrested her.
How about Sandra?
Sandra ran away from an abusive foster care home in Florida at 12. She was found at a bus stop by a pimp who promised to love and care for her forever. He sold her to at least seven men a night. Finally she, too, was arrested, for child prostitution.
Unfortunately, girls in these situations are not typically seen as child victims of serial rape and abuse. Instead, they are left to fend for themselves or treated as child offenders, funneled into the juvenile justice system for child prostitution or related charges. Click here to read more.
Street Grace, CIS, and McNair MS Featured on Fox5 News
Communities In Schools (CIS) of Atlanta was featured on the April 4th edition of Fox5 News at 5 p.m. for providing 300 bags of healthy snacks to students as they prepared to be away from school for Spring Break. Included in the video is McNair Middle School Principal Ronald Mitchell helping to distribute the bags to students and parents. For too many students in metro Atlanta, the meals they receive at school through the free/reduced price program are their only reliable daily sources of nutrition…Click here to read more and to watch the report.